Paciello, with Madonna and Lourdes

Rags to Riches to Rags to A&E

Chris Paciello's life is a rags-to-riches-back-to-rags story. Now it's an A & E movie.

Paciello, once a New York thug, moved to Miami and became the prince of South Beach nightlife (and a pal of club impressario/Madonna friend Ingrid Casares). But his past came back to haunt him, and in 1999 Paciello was arrested for the 1993 murder of a Staten Island housewife during a botched robbery. Paciello served eight years in federal lockup, was released in late 2006 and was last spotted in a swank L.A. nightclub.

When Paciello was arrested, folks on South Beach were shocked by the allegations. Ocean Drive once dubbed him the "It Boy" of South Beach. A local gossip columnist once gushed that Paciello had "the purest heart of anybody I've ever met." And consider this quote in a 2000 Village Voice article: "If Chris Paciello did everything the government says he did, then he deserves an Oscar," says South Beach publicist Louis Canales, who used to work for Paciello. "Because he certainly fooled everybody down here. The Chris Paciello we're reading about in the newspapers is not the person we've come to know and love."

Miamians? Gullible? Distracted by shiny objects? Naah.

The movie about his rise and fall airs next Monday night. --Tamara Lush

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